There are many films that try to raise awareness of real-life atrocities, both past and present, and most of these films tend to be somewhat earnest. They might have a few "Hollywood" elements—they might be love stories or action movies—but they generally keep things safely serious and dramatic. Not so The Hunting Party.
The film, written and directed by Richard Shepard—whose last film, The Matador, starred Pierce Brosnan as a hit man with a mid-life crisis—concerns three journalists who go searching for a war criminal in Bosnia, and while it does have moments of suspense and melancholy, much of the film plays like a comedy. Indeed, an opening title card tells us that "only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true."
It's a daring approach, and one that has some worthy precedents. Of all the movies about nuclear warfare produced at the height of the Cold War, the one everyone remembers is Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick's way-over-the-top satire of détente gone wrong (which, incidentally, was based on a serious novel). Shepard, however, is no Kubrick, and he mixes the absurdist truth with some rather dull clichés.
In reality, there were five journalists who went looking for a war criminal and ended up being mistaken for a C.I.A. hit squad; one of them, Scott K. Anderson, later wrote about the experience for Esquire magazine. The film, on the other hand, features three journalists instead, each of whom is an easily recognizable archetype.
First, there is Simon Hunt (Richard Gere), the adventurous TV reporter who covered the Bosnian conflict until the day he "snapped" and began ranting, rather than reporting, during a live broadcast. His reputation in ruins, he now works freelance, ...1
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The Hunting Party
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